Barack Obama: Success, Failure Or Neither?

Eugene Robinson and Michael Gerson take on the debate over whether Barack Obama's Presidency is succeeding or failing.

Both make interesting points, though I admit that it frustrates me to see a conservative writer quote Lawrence Lessig in support of his thesis that the Obama presidency is a failure.

I have problems with both of their arguments. Eugene Robinson cites Obama's swim in the Gulf as evidence that the oil spill was handled well and is now behind us. I disagree with him, and it weakens his other arguments to use it.

Michael Gerson wants to hang the fact that the tone in Washington hasn't changed on Obama, and supposes "all that is left is to attack Republicans." Of course, he ignores the larger truth, which is that the toxic tone in DC is a direct result of Republicans' obstruction and intentional obfuscation of the very real issues confronting this country. That's intellectually dishonest, and assumes Republicans shouldn't be attacked or that they don't deserve the criticism that comes their way. They deserve more criticism, not less.

As many here have noted in comments, Obama reached across the aisle early and often, to the dismay, anger and disappointment of liberals who wanted more forceful rhetoric and action with a near-majority near super-majority in the Senate and a clear majority in the House.

It's an interesting point-counterpoint nevertheless, and certainly mirrors the same debate I've seen here and elsewhere.


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